Nigeria is fast becoming one of Africa’s leading startup hubs, attracting more than $1 billion in fintech investments. This provides huge opportunities for young people in the region, who will be the next generation of tech innovators Amujae Leader Tejumola Abisoye emphasized at the recent West Africa Com 2021.
Speaking on a panel addressing the question of ‘Can Nigeria become Africa’s startup capital?’ Ms. Abisoye presented alongside Dario Giuliani (Briter Bridges), Babatunde Obrimah (Fintech Association of Nigeria), and Adaeze Sokan (Ventures Platform).
As the CEO and Executive Secretary at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Ms. Abisoye’s mission is to reduce youth unemployment and support the tech ecosystem in Lagos by investing in talent development:
“Many young people have some level of education, but still lack a job. They need to develop their talent and skills to be able to work in the tech ecosystem. We’re providing that to them.”
Ms. Abisoye stressed the importance of the private and public sectors working together to create the best conditions for new startups to succeed. As an example, she explained how LSETF works with startups to understand which talents and skills they are looking for so it can then focus on training candidates to upskill them in those critical areas:
“Our collaboration is not just with the end user, it is also with the supplier in terms of the trade, the private sector companies that do the training, so we’re very big on collaboration, and how we can end up supplying the talent to the market.”
Panelists agreed that creating the best environment for startups to thrive requires a strong combination of regulation, investment, and government commitment.
In her closing statement, Ms. Abisoye called on governments to take responsibility for Africa’s growing tech ecosystem:
“Every government must take responsibility… It’s about providing the right support structures to enable the tech industry and the digital economy to contribute to a more diverse economy, because we’re ready for it, so bring it on.”
The full recording of the panel session can be found here.